Ultrabook Project: The Street Food Vendors of Seoul
According to the crew, one of the best parts of traveling with will.i.am on the Ultrabook Project to Seoul, South Korea, was the food. Seoul is famous for having some of the best restaurants in the world and Korean food is legendary for its exotic flavors.
With only four days to take in all in, the crew was constantly on the move and sitting down for a meal seemed impractical. But that didn’t stop them from experiencing some of the best culinary treats that Seoul had to offer. On nearly every street, corner and alley in the city, you can find “pojanmacha” or “covered wagons” which are the street food carts of Seoul.
As you move from cart to cart, it can be overwhelming with so many incredible smells, bright colors and tantalizing flavors to choose from. Our crew did their best to sample as much food as they could, but what were their most memorable treats? Two came quickly to mind:
Two Most Memorable Treats
A Deep-Fried, French Fry-Encrusted, Hot Dog-On-A-Stick
In Seoul, you can find almost anything type of food on a stick; grilled meats (including squid), fried vegetables, dried fish, spam…you name it. But one of our producers discovered a new twist on one of her favor comfort foods, a deep-fried, French fry-encrusted, hot dog-on-a-stick. “I was a little intimidated to try some of the other foods but when I saw this gem, I was ready to dive right in. It was an entire meal on a stick.”
There are dozens of food carts that are dedicated to serving only Octopus Balls or “Takoyaki.” Octopus Balls are small pieces of cooked octopus that are rolled in a batter and deep-fried until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Image courtesy of avlxyz.
Here are some other uncommon foods, commonly found on the food carts of Seoul:
Odeng is skewered fish cake that is usually threaded onto a stick and boiled in different flavored broths.
Standing out because of its bright orange color, Tteokbokki is a rice cake stew covered in a sticky, spicy and sweet sauce.
As one of the spiciest foods found on the streets, Sundubu jigae is perfect for a cold day. It’s a simple soup with tofu, shrimps or oysters, mushrooms, vegetables and chili peppers.
Popular with tourists, Dakkochi, or grilled chicken skewers, are found everywhere and served glazed with various sweet, spicy and really spicy sauces.
Similar to sushi, Kimbap is basically steamed rice rolled in roasted seaweed sheets and served in the tasty rolls fills with carrots, cooked eggs, cucumbers, pickled radishes, tuna or even spam.
This is not ice cream. In fact, it might be the exact opposite of ice cream. A Sundae is a type of Korean sausage made from pig intestines that are packed with pig’s blood, onions, garlic and thin glass noodles. For an extra taste treat, a Sundae is usually mixed with slices of pig’s liver before it’s served up.
Made from rice and wheat flour, a Hotteok is a pancake stuffed with a sweet pudding made of brown sugar and black sesame seed paste.
Bbobki is a sugar lollypop that is made right in front of you. Boiling sugar is poured into round molds with thin sticks in them and, as they cool, the street vendor uses cookie cutters to stamp a heart or star shape in the middle of your lollypop.
Yeot is a sweet, hard taffy made from the syrup of boiled steamed rice or corn that is formed into giant blocks. When you order it, the vendor will chisel off a piece straight from the block.
The Ultrabook Project crew was pretty brave trying the different foods. How adventurous are you when it comes to trying new foods? What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever eaten?